Being a PC user can be a costly endeavor. Not only is the hardware that could run a fast-enough experience can be expensive, but the same can be said on the operating system that runs it to make it a complete experience.
After all, without the OS, a set of computer parts built together is nothing but a scrap that does nothing but imitate a functioning computer, but without the actual usability. Essentially, a built-up computer hardware is only half-complete with the absence of a working OS.
However, do you know what is more expensive than having to upgrade to a more modern hardware? It’s doing so and not having your pre-existing valid license of Windows 10 make the shift as well.
It goes without saying that a genuine Windows license can be pricey and is partly the reason why our pre-built computers are themselves expensive.In fact, a retail Windows 10 license usually sells for a price above Php5,000 in most computer stores.
If you have a valid license of Windows 10 running in your old computer, it would only make sense that you would like to maintain using it until such a time it expires and forces you to renew.
Are all Windows 10 licenses transferable?
Right off the bat, allow me to tell you that not every kind of Windows 10 license is transferable from one device to the next or even vice versa. Furthermore, your pre-existing license is only transferable in the condition that the key itself is retail, not OEM.
One way to check whether your old computer has a retail or an OEM license is to hit the command prompt—that is, press both the “Windows” and “R” simultaneously and typing in “cmd.” From here, you should type in “slmgr -dli” (without the quotations) and then hit enter.
A Windows Script Host will appear stating the details of your license, including the version of the OS installed—Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise—and the license type. Intuitively, if you saw something that pertains to the key being “OEM,” then you know for a fact that the license you have in your old computer is strictly non-transferable. Otherwise, it is retail and can be transferred to a different computer hardware.
One good thing about having an OEM license, however, is the fact that when you choose to reformat the computer, a default re-installation of the operating system automatically picks up the license the PC had. This is because OEM licenses are stored in the computer’s motherboard by default.
But there’s a caveat—in order for the OEM license to kick in, the version of Windows being re-installed must match the key’s attributed OS version as well. For example, if your previous Windows version is “Home,” then it would take the same variation of Windows 10 for the license to remain valid for use.
De-register and re-register Windows 10 license key
Most Windows 10 license keys work only on a single computer at any given time, which means that there should be no two computers that actively run on the same license. Hence, why even as a legitimate user, you cannot just register your pre-existing license to another computer while it is active in your old PC.
Intuitively, in order to bypass that issue, you would want to de-register your pre-existing license first, with the purpose of registering it to your newer device. To do so:
Run the Command Prompt as an Administrator:
Type “cmd” (without the quotations) at the search bar within the start menu and, in the sub-section, choose to run the feature as administrator.
De-register the License Key:
Type in: smlgr.vbs /upk
Remove the License Key from the Windows Registry:
Type in: smlgr.vbs /cpky
Re-register your License Key in your new computer:
Using your new computer, type in: slmgr.vbs /ipk xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx
“xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx” is your valid Windows 10 license key.
Alternate method to reuse old Windows 10 license product key
If you would prefer a different method about activating your pre-existing Windows 10 license in a new computer, follow this path:
Start Menu > Settings > Update & security > Activation > Change product key.
Simply, key in the exact detail of your valid license key (the one from your old computer) in order to activate.
If you happen to find the license not activating and you think that reaching for a technical support is a feasible solution, you can always contact Microsoft Support.
To do so, type in “slui.exe 4” (without the quotations) at the command prompt. An activation wizard will appear asking you about your location, specifically the country.
Microsoft support will provide you with a corresponding “Installation ID” which you will need to present after making a call to the Toll-free number the system will also show to you. Simply confirm the Installation ID given to you in order to activate your license.
Tie your Windows 10 license to a Microsoft account
Having a Microsoft account to attribute your pre-existing license is a perk when it comes to making a transfer to a different hardware. If tied to a Microsoft Account, then making a switch is as simple as logging the said account to a different machine.
To link your pre-existing Windows 10 license with your Microsoft Account, go to the Settings > Accounts > Your Info in your old computer. From there, click on “Sign in with a Microsoft Account Instead”.
In order to check if the tie-in worked, go to Settings > Update & security > Activation and see if you will get this prompt: “Windows is activated with a digital license linked to your Microsoft account,” which should appear if you did the process right.
Moving forward, go to your new computer and log the same Microsoft Account. From there, choose to see if the version of Windows you’re using is already activated by going to Settings > Update & security > Activation. If everything goes well, you should be able to see your new system properly activated using only your logged Microsoft Account.
For those who are not used to playing around with the Windows Command line, this is the easiest and most straightforward method you can use.
That’s it! In case you need help in anything, feel free to ask questions in the comments section so we can help you out. If you were able to transfer your Windows 10 license to a new computer, share it with us.